Volume 2 Issue 19 - October 01, 2004

Dance and drama competition for disabled children

DNIS News Network - Disabled students gave an impeccable performance at a four-hour dance drama interschool competition on September 17 in New Delhi.

The performers were mentally and physically challenged children. But it made little difference to the audience who sat through a cultural spectacle that starred deaf children effectively communicating their point through sign language and those on crutches acting out skits on topics that ranged from honesty to deforestation.

About 20 schools for disabled participated in Bhangra dance and songs competitions, organised by an NGO, Very Special Arts India (VSAI).

Adding to the colour of the contest, were the costumes painstakingly crafted to make the children look like stars, flowers and fairies. A visibly thrilled Priyanka, 20, ran down from the stage in an indigo suit with black snakes made of cloth tied around her arms. She had just finished her role as a snake in a tale from the ancient text of animal fables 'Panchatantra' She giggled, "It was so much fun. I want to go on the stage once more."

Another participant Neha added, "It was nice. I wish we could have more such events. We practised for three days continuously. It was tough initially, but now we feel it was worth it all," she said excitedly.

"We might be disabled but we, too, can perform in our own way," said Kshitij, a wheelchair user.

Meera Singh, Secretary, VSAI, pointed out: "The programme was mainly aimed at encouraging participation and confidence building among disabled children. VSAI also conducts other innovative activities like a Ramayana on Wheels for those who can't walk, thematic Rangoli competitions and classical music sessions.

She added, "Isn't it obvious they are having so much fun? These little ones deserve this, after all they miss out so much in their lives otherwise."

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